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SharePoint Online: To Have or to Not Have. On-Premise vs. Hybrid

Owens Gollamandala | | June 2, 2016

Are you finding it difficult to select the most appropriate SharePoint environment that best fits your needs? This blog post discusses the similarities, differences, advantages, and disadvantages of the SharePoint environments (SharePoint Server 2013, SharePoint online of Office 365, and Hybrid) to guide you on the best option selection.

SharePoint is a Windows server-based, multi-tier ASP.NET Web application that utilizes SQL server for its data tier and is dependent on Web standards and the .NET Framework. There are two main options of deploying SharePoint.

The first is in the SharePoint On-Premises. It requires a huge capital investment to set up physical hardware and run costs on electricity, licensing, and support.

The other option is SharePoint Online, which entails outsourcing the whole infrastructure to the cloud, in this case the Microsoft providers. Microsoft offers SharePoint Online and Office 365 as a cloud-based option to the SharePoint On-Premise. Office 365 is a Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud computing product.

First, let’s unravel the distinct characteristics of each SharePoint environment.

SharePoint Environments

SharePoint On-Premises SharePoint Online
SharePoint server farm is within the corporate network SharePoint site is in the Microsoft Data Center (MDC)
IT support team maintains the SharePoint farm and regularly applies Microsoft patches and updates Microsoft applies the patch regularly
Availability of Enterprise level services like Performance Point, BCS, etc. Support for App model and Client Side Object
There’s full access to use and customize any SharePoint feature as required Microsoft’s global network of data centers provides reduced latency and high network bandwidth
On-premise active directory is used for authentication Microsoft’s SLA ensures 99.9% high availability

Note: Hybrid environment refers to the integration of SharePoint Online Office 365 with SharePoint On-Premises server 2013.

Second, let’s compare the features of the two environments SharePoint On-Premises and SharePoint online.

Comparing features of SharePoint On-Premises and Online

Both of the SharePoint environments have the same basic functionality but have several significant feature differences as illustrated in the table below.

Category On Premises Online
Product features Support for Enterprise features and Office Web (OWA) App need to be installed Missing or limited features, pre-configured features
Infrastructure deployment & maintenance IT support team deploys/manages server farm and latest updates/patches are not always deployed Microsoft manages the environment and ensures all updates and patches are deployed
Cost Purchase/Maintain hardware, software licenses, etc. Annual subscriptions for Office 365 plans billed on per-user basis
Storage needs Expensive storage devices, site-collection — more than 100 GB, scalable storage size Cheap storage cost, site collection — up to 100 GB, maximum content in single tenant — Office 365 plan-based
Customization options Full support for server side code and client side code, app usage from OAC and SAS Full support on client side; limited support on server side; can use apps from OAC or SAS

Third, let’s outline the advantages and disadvantages of the SharePoint On-Premises

Advantages and Disadvantages of SharePoint On-Premises

Advantages Disadvantages
Migrate as needed Requires extra configurations for external collaboration
Reduces bandwidth requirements Disaster recovery is dependent on internal capabilities
Ability to control performance Cost of internal resources (staff, software, hardware, etc.)
Ability to scale up or scale out Patching servers/farms
Ability to perform full customization Additional geographic redundancy costs
Full server and SQL database Scale up/out cost( SW/HW)
Seamless Single Sign on with Corporate Active Directory

Fourth, let’s outline the advantages and disadvantages of the SharePoint Online

Advantages and Disadvantages of SharePoint Online

Advantages Disadvantages
Scalability No access to the server
Managed Services ( SaaS) Limited customizations
Multiple data centers Recovery SLAs
Reduced impact on internal IT resources More ISP bandwidth
Geographically redundant Possible storage costs
Uptime 99.99%
Pay as you go (low cost )

Finally, let’s evaluate the SharePoint environments when it comes to cloud storage, and how SharePoint Online Office 365 brings about privacy and legal concerns.

Should Microsoft be trusted to keep all your company’s internal data safe? Microsoft Azure embraces data centers across the globe. Which laws have been put in each host country with regard to data search and seizure? Bottom line is the company’s data sovereignty should be guarded at all costs.

To enjoy the benefits of both SharePoint Online and SharePoint On-Premises, it’s possible to integrate the Office 365 with SharePoint On-Premises server 2013. An example of such a scenario is the need to maintain your current on-premises Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) domain and provide your users with single sign on (SSO) to an Office 365 instance.

In conclusion, it’s up to you to make the final decision whether it’s SharePoint Online Office 365 or SharePoint On-Premises or Hybrid, depending on the exact needs of your company. Regardless of whichever SharePoint solution you decide to undertake, it’s very important to back up your data. It’s usually easier to back up to cloud using a third-party solution, which automatically backs up your cloud data on a daily basis, and that is always readily accessible to you when you need it in case of data loss.

Datavail can help you choose the most appropriate SharePoint environment to suit your needs. Contact us today. With more than 600 database administrators worldwide, Datavail is the largest pure-play database services provider in North America. With 24×7 managed database services, including database design, architecture and staffing, Datavail can support your organization as it works with MySQL, regardless of the build you ultimately select.

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